A Deadlands: Hell on Earth Adventure by T. Jordan "Greywolf" Peacock
PART II: The Toxic Shaman
|Part I: Zombie Problems|
|Part II: The Toxic Shaman|
|Part III: The Wild West Museum|
|Part IV: The Hall of Heroes|
|Part V: Cobalt Caves|
|Part VI: Epilogue and Resources|
Cries-Burning-Tears, at the time the Posse arrives, is most likely holed up in the Office. If the Posse makes their presence known (such as by setting off any of the pole-traps, or making a great deal of noise getting in), then Cries-Burning-Tears will hastily work on setting up some traps in the office. At the time the Posse visits the museum, Cries-Burning-Tears has some pole-traps set up to explode if anyone tries the door from the Mining/Logging/Farming room. He has six more pole-traps, each one of them sufficient to trap a single door, but three of them are capable of taking out an entire interior wall and filling a room with destruction.
If the Posse gets inside the building and appears to be exploring it -- and if it looks like they pose a serious danger (most likely true), Cries-Burning-Tears will set up the poles to trap the entire interior walls between the office and the Mining/Logging/Farming room and the Hall of Horrors room. If anyone should open the door (or try to smash through the walls), the poles will be set off, destroying both walls, and directing a 6d6 radiation-based attack against everyone in the Mining/Logging/Farming room, the Lobby, and the Hall of Horrors rooms.
(In the play-test run of this adventure, several zombies had gotten into the Lobby at the time that this blast went off, since the front doors and the runes on them had been obliterated earlier. Although the zombies are highly resistant to radiation damage, any of them standing in the lobby will likely still be trashed, because of not only the radiation burst, but the splinters from shattered doors, and various implements being thrown about by the blast. It's easiest to just assume that any zombies caught in the area of effect are annihilated. After all, odds are that there will be more to take their place.)
If the Posse sets up barricades for protection while setting off the trap, these may provide shielding from the explosions. Once Cries-Burning-Tears is certain that the Posse is making their way to his office, he'll try to escape by climbing through the hole in the floor (described below) and dragging the desk over it, then escaping through the caverns. If anyone is in an adjacent room when this happens, they'll hear the distinctive sound of wood scraping against wood if they can beat a TN of 5 on a hearing-based Cognition roll.
If Cries-Burning-Tears escapes through the hole in the floor, he'll leave another pole-trap just inside the hole. If someone pushes the desk, this will disturb the pole, setting off the trap ... and sufficiently damaging the floor to cause a real problem for anyone in there. Large sections of the floor will collapse, and any Posse members will have to beat a TN of 7 on a Nimbleness roll to keep from falling through, into the pit. Especially large creatures (like wall-crawlers or horses) have to beat a TN of 11. Anyone else manages to scurry to safety, or to cling onto one of the more sturdy crossbeams supporting the floor.
If the Posse seems to be taking a different approach (such as smashing in windows, or trying to smash in the office door), he may set up the poles differently. He can only set up the poles to blast through wall sections that he has ritually prepared with symbols painted on the exterior wall. He's already prepared all adjoining walls to the office -- and doors -- but if someone were climbing on the roof or under the floorboards, he isn't prepared to have a surprise blast upward or downward.
It takes 5 minutes per pole-trap to set up. Therefore, it would take twenty-five minutes to set up all remaining five pole-traps.
Cries-Burning-Tears is a Toxic Shaman from the Coyote Confederation, specializing in the sphere of Radiation (Fire). At one time, he was concerned about the state of the environment -- both in the physical world and in the Hunting Grounds. He went through a progression of different philosophies regarding his dealings with corrupted nature spirits. First, he went by the "traditional" mindset of Caretaker Shamans, dealing with a toxic spirit only so that he could use the spirit's power against the Reckoners. Although the requirements of the spirits dictated that he must commit acts of pollution, he would carefully direct these acts against those who "deserved" it ... Black Hat patrols ... mutant-hunting survivor settlements ... rednecks who made "Injun" jokes ... anyone who looked at him funny, and who might quietly be looking down upon him. Basically, he became more lax in his definition of just who was worthy of being targeted by these powers.
Eventually, he gave up the pretense of trying to use the powers of the toxic spirits in a roundabout way to try to clean the environment. For one thing, he got a lot more power when he ran downhill, and he reasoned in his mind that maybe this is how things are supposed to work. He adopted the Corruptor philosophy that the toxic spirits can be persuaded to over-extend themselves by saturating the real world with pollution, much in the same way that the Reckoners have made themselves vulnerable by coming to Earth rather than staying in the Hunting Grounds.
By this reasoning, if he can fill Earth with all the corruption from the Hunting Grounds, the power of the toxic spirits in the Hunting Grounds can be reduced, and the nature spirits can regain control. Then, the nature spirits can exert their influence over the physical world, clean things up, and everyone lives happily ever after.
It can be argued that this sort of mindset depends on an awful lot of wishful thinking.
In any case, Cries-Burning-Tears continued his downward spiral, which was hastened along even further when he acquired a radioactive idol from a rival shaman. When he got this idol he also got a toxic guardian that came along with it. This guardian has been granting him greater powers, but also being more demanding in the acts that Cries-Burning-Tears must make in order to appease it. This spirit has been playing Cries-Burning-Tears like an instrument, getting him addicted to the power, to the point where the Shaman now just runs about, committing acts of pollution, little more than a puppet of his toxic "guardian".
Cries-Burning-Tears is not necessarily malicious, and he won't seek to bring harm to others for its own sake, but he will spread pollution religiously, regardless of the harm it causes others. It would take a truly dedicated individual to have any hope of bringing back this toxic shaman from "the dark side".
|Power||Page (Spirit Warriors)|
|Energy Weapon||p. 73|
|Immunity: Radiation||p. 58|
|Rad Blast||p. 75-76|
|Radar Sight||p. 76|
Note: If Mutate is used to remove any mutations gained from the toxic goo in the cavern, the target gets a +4 to his Vigor roll to be healed of the mutation, and all mutations caused by the pool (beneficial or not) vanish at once.
staff (Speed 1, DEF +2, Damage STR+1d6)|
bottle of spook juice
knife (Speed 1, DEF +1, Damage STR+1d4)
15 sigil-covered poles (enough for 5 pole-traps)
fur-lined cloak (counts as winter coat, AV -2 to torso, arms, 50% legs)
boots (AV -2 to feet)
Set up in multiple locations in the museum are traps based on radiation spirit magic, making use of magical items in the form of enchanted poles. Three of these sigil-inscribed poles are leaned upon each other and then bound together, forming a loose tripod, sometimes jammed into holes in floorboards or the ground for extra stability. The poles in and of themselves don't do anything, unless triggered. The trigger is in the form of sigils put on the outside facing side of a wall or doors. If the signs are disturbed, the wall is broken through, or the doors opened, the "trigger" is set off, and a blast of radiation energy is launched from the poles in the direction of the sigils at the time that the trap was first set up. If the poles themselves are disturbed, this also serves as a "trigger" to set off the blast.
Any models caught in this blast suffer a 6d6 massive damage attack. If a model was actually touching the poles at the time the blast goes off, then this is a 6d6 attack against the body part in contact with the poles if the blast was facing away from the character. (If the unlucky character is also positioned so that he's in the blast area of effect, then not only does he take a direct hit to whatever part of his body was touching the poles, but he takes the regular "massive damage" blast as well. It's not a very nice day for him.)
Normal immunities and resistances to radiation-based attacks apply. Any "Cobalt Rad Zombies" caught in the area of effect are instantly destroyed, despite their normal resistance to radiation-based attacks.
Any model with academia: occult or an Arcane Background can attempt to figure out a way to "disarm" the pole traps, or even rearrange them. On a TN of 5 on academia: occult, someone can determine that the runes have to do with a curse or ward. On a TN of 7, it's evident that the sigils have something to do with triggering a trap. On a TN of 11 on an academia: occult roll, anyone examining the sigils can determine the nature of the trap, and how to "disarm" the trap by careful wiping out of certain runes, until the poles may be safely removed. On a TN of 20 or more, not only can the trap be disarmed, but it can be set up again, pointing another direction. The trouble is, either a Radiation Shaman or a Doomsayer (with the "Sigil" power) is required to create these necessary sigils. Without them, the trap cannot be "reprogrammed".
For a character with an Arcane Background who does not have academa: occult, use that character's spell-casting skill (hexslinging, blasting, ritual, et cetera), as if it were a "related skill", at -2 to the roll.
If the character in question is a Toxic Shaman, add +4 to the roll. If the character is a "traditional" Shaman, or a Doomsayer, add +2 to the roll.
When the bolts discharge, there is a flash of green light, and a rush of "green flame" in a straight line, of sufficient force to destroy any of the interior doors or walls caught in the blast. If a character is specifically trying to stand to one side and trigger the door, he can avoid being caught in the blast effect if he succeeds in rolling anything other than a Botch on a Nimbleness or dodge roll (player's choice). Otherwise, characters caught in the area of effect have to beat a TN of 9 with dodge or Nimbleness (player's choice) in order to safely dive for cover. In the case where Cries-Burning-Tears has rigged up a whole wall to explode, the only way to avoid the blast is to not be there -- i.e., set off the trap by remote by means of a rope, a charge set off at a distance, or so forth.
In some of the rooms, a green blast may weaken the floorboards -- This is particularly so in the Office or the Mining/Logging/Farming room. If a blast goes off in either of those rooms, anyone who runs through the room (or is sufficiently large than human-sized) must roll a Nimbleness roll against a TN number of 7, or crash through the floorboards. In the Office, this means falling into the caves. In the Mining/Logging/Farming room, this just means tearing up the floor and having to spend an action to pull free of the broken boards.
The green blast will cook any of the slime or toxic goo in the Lobby, so once one of the traps is set off through there, any area affected is considered clean.
If a Doomsayer in the group has Geiger Vision operative, the pole-traps and sigils will show up brightly, even through walls. The same will happen if a Toxic Shaman is using X-Ray Vision.
When the Posse first arrives, pole-traps are set up in the following locations: